Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

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16 February 2023


The Regional Migration Outlook for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) presents an analysis of the key events and trends that shaped migration in the EECA region in 2022. Simultaneously, it offers a cautious outlook into areas and issues that may affect migration and mobility to, within and from the EECA in 2023. In a non-exhaustive way, the publication addresses developments in the twelve EECA countries (based on ICMPD’s regional division) – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The analysis is based on ICMPD’s regional expertise and desk research from official and public data sources.

In many ways, 2022 will be remembered as a tragic and unsettling year for the EECA region that saw continued flare-ups between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a reinvigorated clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and several protests in Central Asia, all of which led to numerous civilian deaths and increased regional displacement. Yet, Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine represented a major development that seemed unthinkable up until 24 February 2022 despite all signs and warnings observed since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The invasion rapidly triggered mass displacement within and beyond Ukraine’s international borders, turning neighbouring countries and EU Member States into the main harbour for millions of persons fleeing the conflict zones. The war, solidified by political repressions, sparked considerable outward migration from Russia to virtually all EECA countries and further abroad. Moreover, the war has already left a long-lasting footprint on the entire region, affecting its economic, political, demographic and social layers, and will define the way forward in the years to come.

Given the significance of the war in Ukraine for the whole region, it lies as a main binding point through the entire Regional Migration Outlook 2023 for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The 6 things to look out for in 2023

  1. Protracted displacement as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
  2. Outward migration from Russia and its impact on the receiving EECA countries
  3. Frictions and developments in other regional hotspots as possible migration drivers
  4. Host countries’ efforts to integrate Ukrainian refugees of war into local labour markets, while respecting possibilities for their return and reintegration in Ukraine
  5. Signs of the changing labour migration landscape of the EECA region
  6. Labour migration from the EECA countries to the EU


International Centre for Migration Policy Development